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Water Today Title November 24, 2017

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BWA of the Day



On May 27, a boil water advisory in Phillips Head, Newfoundland Labrador was removed; it had been issued 14-years ago when total coliforms were detected in the drinking water system. Good news being hard to come by, we went looking for more information. One would be hard put however to reach anyone in the town office of Phillips Head (pop. 168). Lisa Hart, town administrator of the nearby village of Northern Arm gave it a go. "It's a very small community, not far from us," she said as she attempted to find a town office number in the local telephone book, to no avail.

It wasn't until a call was put into Newfoundland's Department of Environment and Conservation and we spoke with Senior Environmental Scientist Rob Holloway, that we got any answers.

"Up until the middle of 2014, there had been no operator in place since 2006. Back then, inconsistent bacteriological results and fluctuating chlorine levels were being recorded, so the EHO put a BWA in place. In 2014, with an operator maintaining the system, and monitoring the chlorine residuals, sampling was started up again approximately a year ago. Sample results continued to be inconsistent over the last number of months, but now two consecutive sets of samples have been satisfactory, which resulted in the BWA being removed. Particular attention will be paid to this system over the next months to ensure that the operator is monitoring the residuals effectively," said the Manager of Environmental Health, in an email forwarded to Water Today by Holloday.

According to Holloway, the decision to remove the BWA after two consecutive clean water tests, was jointly taken by Jim Follet of the Newfoundland Operator Education, Training and Certification (OETC) Program and Environmental Health Officer Susan Folks, the person involved in the collection of samples and the issuing and lifting of BWAs in Phillips Head.

Phillips Head, is located in north-central Newfoundland in the Bay of Exploits, 14.5 km from Northern Arm and 80km from Grand Fall - Windsor. The remains of an old WWII gun battery and shelter, as well as an old watch tower and fuel tank can be found within the commnutity.

The artillery station constructed at Phillips Head was elaborate in scope. It boasted a three-story lookout tower and a 700-foot underground passage that connected 11 rooms filled with ammunition, secret documents and supplies. The entire station was surrounded by barbed wire fencing and fitted with drain pipes intended to flood the facility in the event of enemy invasion. Booby traps were also set up along the underground passage and two hidden escape hatches were installed. (Wikipedia)

NOTE: A boil water advisory was issued for Phillips Head in June 2015 due to total coliforms. It is still in effect as of December 2015.

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